The University of Iowa

Success Tips for College

Involvement matters. Students who get involved at Iowa are more likely to stay and succeed. Student Engagement and Campus Programs 

Iowa has over 500 student organizations. Not finding one that interests you? Start your own! It takes only five people to start a new organization. Explore student organizations

Roommate conflicts happen. It’s a big adjustment to live with someone new. But it is important to really communicate with your roommate about things like quiet time, cleaning up, and respecting each other’s possessions before problems develop. Remember, your RA is there for a reason—use him/her as a resource to help!

Getting sick, especially while living away from home, is no fun. Student Health Service is your campus health resource. Call their NurseLine to get advice, discuss symptoms, and decide what to do: 319-335-9704. After hours, you can call 319-384-8442.

Tutoring is for everyone. You’ll find that tutoring in college is a lot different than in high school. If you see tutoring services available for a course, it can clue you in that lots of folks may have trouble mastering that course—dive in and seek help early and often.

Time management tip: It might seem like you have all kinds of time now that you’re not in school all day. But first-year students quickly learn it’s easy to get behind. Use “in-between” time (those 10- to 15-minute chunks while waiting for class to start, on the Cambus, etc.) to review notes, tackle quick tasks, make appointments, or review your schedule for the week.

Writing papers in college is a lot different than high school. The UI Writing Center provides help both in person and online. You can get tutoring by submitting a paper online, or find advice via online chat!

Doing research for a paper is easier with a little help from your librarians. The UI Libraries is a whole system of millions of resources that can overwhelm even the seasoned researcher, but the savviest students know they can save time by asking for help. Librarians are there to help you at any stage of the research process. Stop by or get in touch wherever you are. 

Note taking is a skill you develop with practice. Pay attention to “cue words” the professor or TA may give to highlight important information. “This will be on the test” is pretty obvious, but also listen for “this is an important idea,” or key words such as “causes,” “factors,” “characteristics,” or “reasons.” If you aren’t sure how you’re doing taking notes, take them along when you visit a professor during office hours and ask for feedback.

When reading for class, read with a purpose. Know what the instructor expects you to learn from the reading. As you read each paragraph ask yourself: What was in that paragraph that I need to know? Look for main ideas, facts, reasons, and examples.

There are lots of creative ways to expand your horizons at Iowa. Attend one of Hancher’s amazing plays, musicals, or performances—many highlight different cultures and artistic traditions. Hancher also offers $10 student ticket deals for many of its productions!

Start thinking early about studying abroad. Many students say this experience changed their lives. The UI sponsors more than 100 study abroad opportunities around the world.

Iowa college students rank second in the nation in volunteering. The Community-Based Learning Program allows you to track your volunteer hours and find places on campus and in the community to volunteer. Check it out, and let’s become No. 1.